A Gentleman in Moscow
I am currently listening to A Gentleman in Moscow, a book that’s been on my ‘contemporary’ list for a long time. Somehow, it never showed up whenever I searched for it on Audible, and I finally randomly stumbled upon it while browsing one of their best-sellers lists. I am so glad I did!
I have no idea where the storyline is going, but the idea of living in a hotel (remember this letter?) with all sorts of services at one’s disposal, exploring a labyrinthic old building and getting into various types of cosy adventures (at least so far they have been cosy), makes it a feel-good read for me.
Source: Author Amor Towels announces that actor Kenneth Branagh will star in the screen adaptation.
It must be said that the historical context of the book and even the actual situation of the main character is far from feel-good, and I am not sure if things will take a turn for the worst soon (a dark cloud certainly seems to be looming in the background)… but this is how the book has felt to me so far. I’m even more intrigued about where it will take me now than before starting it! And I’ve just learned that it will be adapted into a mini-series, all the more reason to read it or listen to it before it’s released (no dates yet).
Last weekend I finally managed to watch Auntie Mame (trailer here). I expected it to be an ‘irreverent escapade’ (as the book it’s based on was described), I was looking forward to meeting a quirky character that I might want to steal a few tricks from, admiring the clothes and accessories and decors, as well as the lavish lifestyle and parties. It did not disappoint, and it also delivered a couple of parenting lessons on top of that. What else could one ask for?
Without going into the whole debate about smoking or not – I think everybody should do as they please, I know my days as a smoker are not behind me even though I haven’t touched a cigarette in over five years.
Watching Auntie Mame graciously swing her cigarette holder left and right for over two hours reminded me of the whole paraphernalia associated with smoking and how truly exquisite some accessories, especially the vintage ones, can be. I expect this won’t be the last time I touch upon this topic on the letter, zealous puritans, be aware!
Where do you stand on leopard print? I think people either love it or hate it, it’s too bold and expressive to pass unobserved. I personally love it and since style inspiration is in very short supply while stuck in the house with no more reason to dress up than a work video call, I have been browsing my archive on Pinterest and I’ve put together a dedicated section for this classic print! Not just clothes and fashion, but also decor ideas, illustrations and more.
Source: Max Mara, Givenchy, Ermano Scervino, Dolce and Gabbana
I particularly loved to see how different designers have interpreted an all-leopard print outfit on the runway and I can confirm without a doubt that I would wear all these over-the-top outfits if the right occasion were to present itself!
I remember going to open my very first bank account in a foreign country, when I lived in Lyon, France, exactly 10 years ago (how funny I should remember this anecdote so very close or maybe exactly on the date that it happened!) The lady that was my bank officer had painted a very basic, yet amazingly chic leopard print on her nails. Just black on nude, it was simple, unpolished, so French! I wore it many times after, one of very few variations on my regular black nails that I would still consider.
Old-Hollywood Beauty Secrets
While still in a vintage mood, I found this roundup of Old-Hollywood beauty secrets to be quite interesting, surprisingly entertaining and sometimes even intriguing. I believe a few of these secrets are still very much in our ‘arsenal’ nowadays, but others, like shaving off a centimeter of your hairline to give yourself a larger forehead or using cotton or even tissue wads to create the illusion of a fuller lip… seem impractical and strange.
Sera Hersham-Loftus’ Apartment
While I was looking for the best picture to illustrate a different exquisite find (that will now have to wait its turn), I made a discovery that deserves its unique spot on the letter – the exquisite apartment of designer, interior decorator and creative Sera Hersham-Loftus. I didn’t know who she is until last night, but I was delighted particularly to realise I had many images of her apartment pinned, not even knowing they belong to the same space.
I had a hard time selecting which images to use! For more, here is an Architectural Digest video tour (that for once doesn’t do justice to an apartment, in my opinion!), an interview with Sera, even more absolutely beautiful images and more of her work, outside her apartment!
There are so many things in this space that tickle my fancy – the high ceilings, all the plasterwork, the plants, the eclectic mix of old and modern pieces, the art, all the lamps and wall lights… It’s simply a dream!
As you’ve probably gathered by now, I am partial to a chandelier. But what I like even more is a good idea for repurposing random little exquisite vintage items that I stumble upon all the time in charity stores and at car-boot markets (not now, obviously, as everything is closed). And here is pure inspiration, from artist Madeleine Boulesteix!
I’d love a chandelier made of crystal ornate champagne flutes and maybe a crystal ice bucket as well. And as I was typing this I thought I should look it up because this surely is not an original idea of mine, and right I was, finding both the simple, as well as the very opulent examples above in mere seconds. Still, a one-of-a-kind piece, less polished, more flamboyant, beats even the classic (and far from a bargain) Murano option in my mind.
I leave you with a few ideas that are simpler and sleeker, but similar in concept, and that could make for much easier DIY projects.
If this letter has offered you a moment of inspiration, kindly forward it to others who might enjoy it too. And if you have been forwarded it, indulge in all previous Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds and subscribe to the weekly letter.